Western Mass.: Everyone chasing Division 3 State Champion Westfield

HNIB Staff
HNIB Staffhttps://www.hnibnews.com
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There are Western Massachusetts coaches who don’t see Westfield as the team to beat in Western Massachusetts. A lot of other coaches scratch their heads at that.


A powerhouse, said the coach of a Berry Division rival. Another coach wondered how he could possibly counter the Bombers’ four lines with his two.


With plenty of depth and experience, the defending state Division 3 champs get the nod to repeat here. They were unbeaten against Western Mass. competition last year.


They defeated No. 2  East Longmeadow 7-0 in the regional final. The No. 2 Spartans have goalie Matt Gasparini returning, and some top forwards, though they graduated a lot of their depth on defense.


No. 3 Longmeadow, the last local team to knock off Westfield (in the 2012 regional final), also has experience in goal, also has some veteran forwards returning, but also will be looking to some young defensemen to step up.


No. 4 Agawam, perfect against Division 3A competition last year, gets its chance against Division 3 competition this year; it’ll join the regional powers in the Berry. The Brownies have a lot of players back
and are seen as a team to watch.


So, too, is No. 5 Minnechaug, which lost some close games last year and has experience in a lot of crucial spots, not least in net. They could take a big step forward.


No. 6 South Hadley is in the same boat as Agawam, though it lost a lot of its depth to graduation and other factors. A perennial in Division 3A in recent years, it has some very strong seniors who’ve had lots of success, including goalie Devin Hoagland and defensemen Tom Crotty and Ben Kravetz.


No. 7 Ludlow had huge wins and tough losses with a young team last year. The Lions will look to those kids to take another step forward.


No. 8 West Springfield had a nice season but graduated a whole bunch of players. Without a lot of depth, the Terriers will rely on hard work and some experienced leaders in a tough division.


No. 9 Easthampton brings a lot of players back from a good season last year and are seen as one of the favorites in Division 3A. There’s experience in a lot of different spots.


No. 10 Greenfield is one of several teams in that division in the same boat: They don’t have much depth but they play well as a team. Health and development will tell the tale for lots of teams.

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